What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?

Started Mar 1, 2012 | Discussions
Neeyon
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What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
Mar 1, 2012

I picked up an S100 at the beginning of the year as a "take-anywhere" companion to my main camera (a Sony A55), as well as to use for underwater photography. I'm currently living in East Timor so getting hold of the underwater gear has taken a while, but I have finally managed to pick up an Ikelite housing coupled with an Ikelite A35 strobe. Have only done 5 dives with it so far, so still have a lot of experimenting to do before I get comfortable with this combo.

I've been taking photos for well over 5 years, so am probably somewhere between beginner and intermediate, but have only just started with the underwater thing in the past 6 months using rental cameras...the S100 and associated gear will therefor be my first serious foray into underwater photography. So as someone just learning how to use this camera, I'm curious to ask others who use the S100 (or the S95/S90) for underwater usage about what settings you use in various circumstances e.g. macro vs wide angle, or in-camera flash vs strobe.

90% of the photos I take are macro, so at present I'm shooting RAW in shutter-priority mode, ISO 80, flash on, and shutter speed ranging from 1/125-1/500, depending on the subject. Downside is the camera seems to default to the widest arpeture available which often causes the background to be a fair bit brighter than I'd like, even at higher shutter speeds. I've tried shooting in arpeture-priority mode and setting it to F8-F10, but then often wind up with slightly blurry pics (I'm a really unsteady shooter). If I try shooting in M mode so that I can set arpeture and shutter I have a bit of trouble with getting exposure right, and it's quite finnicky trying to make adjustments underwater. The AF35 also doesn't seem to function as well when the camera is in full manual mode for some reason - I've read about it and there seems to be some sort of TTL limitations when using the S or G-series in M mode (either that or I'm doing something really wrong). At present I'm using auto WB which is what is recommended by Canon and Ikelite, but the pics generally come out a touch too warm, so maybe I should be considering setting it to be slightly cooler?

I will keep reading, researching and experimenting until I find the solutions to some of these bugs (especially those related to my own poor technique and lack of experience), but in the meantime would really appreciate any feedback, ideas or comments from others.

Thanks in advance...

 Neeyon's gear list:Neeyon's gear list
Canon PowerShot S100 Sony SLT-A55 Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM +1 more
Canon PowerShot S95 Sony SLT-A35 Sony SLT-A55
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archiebald
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to Neeyon, Mar 1, 2012

All the U/W shots in this set were taken on an S95 in a Canon WPDC38 case.

http://64.151.109.99/vacation/index.html (click on the first one to start a slide show)

I didn't have an external strobe so the setting fall into two.

All shots were RAW with post processing mainly for white balance. Depth was down to 20 meters in Malaysia

  1. The closer shots (anything under about 0.8 meter) were taken using the internal strobe with auto macro focus at f4.0 all set in C mode.

  2. For longer general shots I had a AV mode setting with flash disabled (natural light only), with f4.0 and manual focus set to about 2.5 meters. (prevents focus hunting)

Ideally at least one, but preferably 2 external strobes would make the results so much better

This site has some excellent tips and tricks, it is essential reading before diving
http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/digital-underwater-cameras

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Neeyon
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to archiebald, Mar 1, 2012

archiebald wrote:

All the U/W shots in this set were taken on an S95 in a Canon WPDC38 case.

http://64.151.109.99/vacation/index.html (click on the first one to start a slide show)

I didn't have an external strobe so the setting fall into two.

All shots were RAW with post processing mainly for white balance. Depth was down to 20 meters in Malaysia

  1. The closer shots (anything under about 0.8 meter) were taken using the internal strobe with auto macro focus at f4.0 all set in C mode.

  2. For longer general shots I had a AV mode setting with flash disabled (natural light only), with f4.0 and manual focus set to about 2.5 meters. (prevents focus hunting)

Ideally at least one, but preferably 2 external strobes would make the results so much better

This site has some excellent tips and tricks, it is essential reading before diving
http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/digital-underwater-cameras

Thanks for the tips, and some nice pics. Whereabouts in Malaysia were you diving?

Agreed about the uwphotographyguide page - I came across it accidentally about 3 months ago when I was looking for info on strobes and it has been a fantastic resource ever since. I've yet to find another page with as much practical information about the various aspects of underwater photography.

 Neeyon's gear list:Neeyon's gear list
Canon PowerShot S100 Sony SLT-A55 Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM +1 more
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archiebald
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to Neeyon, Mar 2, 2012

We were at Redang Island just off the east coast of Terengganu

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samplin
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to archiebald, Mar 4, 2012

I have the S100 and the the Ike housing with 2 Sea&Sea YS-01 strobes.
Had the rig on our last trip to the Phillipines. Here are some of the shots.
Some RAW some just JPG. As you will notice, moat all are with flash.

When you turn the flash on, on the camera in moat of the modes the shutter speed goes to 1/60 of a second.

samplin.smugmug.com

You can pick up a wrath of info and ask as many questions as you want at wetpixel.com.

Joe

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Canon PowerShot S100 +1 more
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Neeyon
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to samplin, Mar 5, 2012

Thanks for the tip Joe, and nice capture on that nudi.

 Neeyon's gear list:Neeyon's gear list
Canon PowerShot S100 Sony SLT-A55 Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM +1 more
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samplin
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to Neeyon, Jun 8, 2012

Just got back from Grand Cayman with the S100 in a FIX housing and two Sea& Sea YS-91s.

Here are some of the shots.

http://samplin.smugmug.com/Other/Grand-Cayman/Grand-Cayman/23233234_bvbtHX

Let me know what you think;

Going back to Little Cayman with Elaine & Michael & Iris on June 23rd.

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Canon PowerShot S100 +1 more
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scubag
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Re: What underwater settings do you use for S100/S95/S90?
In reply to Neeyon, Mar 14, 2013

Its hard to say what to use as different environments and conditions require different things. Best thing to do is play around until you get a picture you are happy with. I keep my S100 in manual mode, which allows me to control ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. If i am shallow with alot of light i may just use custom white balance, with no flash. If i am deeper and maybe shooting macro i will use my strobe, with AWB and just adjust the settings after each shot. Use your histogram. Its really helpful!!

The only thing i dont like about the S100 with my ikelite housing is that i cant control the brightness of the video underwater. I can add an ND filter which isnt always enough

Also dont be fooled by the screen on camera. You may get a fantastic looking shot but they always appear brighter on your camera. SO take as many as you can to give you the best chance of keeping one you really like

So the settings that best suit you are the best settings. Although i say to all my underwater photographer students NEVER to use Underwater mode unless they absolutely have to!!

Hope this helps and any questions i am happy to help

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